High-performance size exclusion chromatography (HPSEC) coupled with peak-fitting technique was used to probe molecular weight (MW) properties of algogenic organic matter (AOM). The qualitative and quantitative MW information derived was used to predict AOM-derived disinfection by-product (DBP) formation. We resolved overlapping HPSEC chromatograms of all AOM samples into six major peaks with R2 > 0.996. This study gave significant insight into the HPSEC profiles of AOM, in which resolved peaks A and B (biopolymers) and peak C (humic substances) showed a strong correlation with the formation of carbonaceous-DBPs (C-DBPs). This likely resulted from the abundance of aromatic structures and conjugated C[dbnd]C double bonds in their chemical nature. Our results also indicated the importance of algal cells, including intra-cellular and cell-bound organic matter, over extra-cellular organic matter as precursors to C-DBP formation. The application of the information extracted from HPSEC profiles associated with the fluorescent components of AOM showed great improvements in the predictability of THMs, HAAs, and C-DBPs with R2 > 0.7 and p < 0.05. The outcome of this study will significantly benefit effective control of AOM-derived DBP formation by the chlorination of eutrophic waters.
- Algogenic organic matter
- Disinfection byproducts
- Size exclusion chromatography